All posts by jwallace

Mixing Music and Visual Art


Joe Wallace Paisley Babylon Art and Music–by Joe Wallace

I’ve been working on a lot of action paintings at StudioLab lately, and after performing last night at CIMMFest as Paisley Babylon, I’ve been thinking about doing a show featuring paintings that each have a soundtrack accompanying them. It wouldn’t always be music–sound design, soundscapes, atmospheres, etc…

I’ve toyed with working on visual art as Paisley Babylon and making the pieces more transmedia…it’s an interesting (to me) concept but I wonder if there’s a harder sell hiding behind a “band name” or stage name as opposed to selling your work as yourself.

Which makes me think that bringing “branding” to art is probably a bad idea. It’s goofy enough that you have to deal with branding as a musician or even as a writer, the idea of having a “brand” as a visual artist (at least in the context of doing shows and trying to go that traditional route more or less) makes me gag a bit. However, I understand that things are just moving in that direction anyway.

It’s a dilemma–do you buck the trend, or do you introduce it and embrace it and make it part of the work? I can’t decide which is worse–seeming like a luddite or joining the fray.

Or maybe I should just not worry about it and do what I do.

I am Joe Wallace. I am a visual artist, multi-media creator, musician, writer and vinyl seller. I have a lot of projects going on at any one time and I am always interested in new collaborations, paying work, and group shows. Get in touch with me at

Working in the StudioLab

Joe Wallace StudioLab Bridgeport Art CenterWork at StudioLab (located inside the Bridgeport Art Center at 1200 W. Racine in Chicago) has started in earnest. I’ve been working across a range of mediums including charcoals, ink, and acrylics in preparation for an open studio show on the third Friday in July.

Some artists are content to stick to one format, one idiom, or style…but I’ve found myself working everything from graphic novel-type drawing and illustration to the big, hyperactive action painting style that’s so much fun to do…but not always as much fun to look at.

When StudioLab opened its doors two months ago, I really had no idea what to expect in terms of my output working more fulltime on visual art. The process has been extremely educational. Unfortunately, like action painting, the early results of this blog are far more interesting to write than they are likely to read. That’s because StudioLab and I are still finding our legs together and big comprehensive artist’s statements and musings about the nature of life, art, cinema and everything else are still a little ways off.

This blog is meant to do several things at once. It acts as documentation of StudioLab as a project in and of itself…but it’s also a way for me to throw ideas against the wall and see what sticks. That also is PROBABLY more fun to write than it is to read. But there are likely some kindred spirit artists out there who feel the same way about things and might have two cents worth to throw in.

And it’s also a bit of an artist’s confessional–you know, all the typical doubt, amazement, first impressions, excitement about other artists and networking that goes on.

The blog so far has been more sporadic than anything, but I expect that will change as both StudioLab and its presence here grow and mutate.

In other words, stay tuned.

I am Joe Wallace. I am an artist, a musician and filmmaker, and I run StudioLab which has its home in the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago. StudioLab is about visual art, sound design, transmedia art and collaboration, and so much more. I’m preparing for an open studio show at StudioLab scheduled for July. Details on that coming soon.

The StudioLab Blog

Joe Wallace Chicago Zine graphic novelby Joe Wallace

I’m not the only person who creates art, music, zines and graphic novel work at StudioLab–I have art partners who I collaborate with and do group shows with. But I’m probably the most passionate of my art partners when it comes to blogging and writing about my experiences as an artist and full-time creative type.

With that in mind, so begins the StudioLab blog. I figure that when my art partners feel moved to write about something in this space, I’ll leave it up to them to speak about their individual experiences, impressions, and opinions. I’m addressing things from my perspective only–when you read the byline on the blog, that’s the experience being represented. In other words, I won’t presume to speak for them, and I don’t think they would presume to speak for me either…

I tend to write a great deal, so this space can get a bit ranty at times in the interest of getting details out, covering lots of bases, and not leaving out credit where credit is due. Keep your eyes peeled on this space, there’s much discussion about art and the creative life in general to come.

Joe Wallace is a fulltime freelance creative professional. He writes, blogs, manages social media, and creates mixed-media and transmedia artwork at StudioLab, which he runs out of the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago Illinois. Contact him at jwallace242@gmail dot net.

StudioLab Moves Into Bridgeport Arts Center

StudioLab is a multi-media art studio that will soon open its doors in the Bridgeport Arts Center. We are sound designers, videographers and editors and mixed-media artists inspired by early industrial music, sci-fi futurism, sexy photography, and William Burroughs.

Joe Wallace, Patty Gonzalez, and Esmeralda Trujillo work with sound, video, painting and other visual art to create unique and innovative art for installations, live shows, and motion pictures. We are based in Chicago but travel regularly to perform, display our work and gather sounds for our sound effects and soundscape work.